World champion Verstappen wins the first Formula 1 race in Miami
In front of 85,000 spectators at the premiere in the big city of Florida, the Dutchman Max Verstappen shows his full strength and eventually wins confidently. Mick Schumacher is promising in the race for a long time, but does not end up in the points.
Weltmeister Max Verstappen has immortalized himself in the history books as the first winner of the new Formula 1 spectacle in Miami. Under the Florida sun, the Red Bull driver beat his title rival Charles Leclerc in Ferrari in a tough duel on the final laps on Sunday, further reducing the gap in the World Championship with his third victory in the fifth race of the season. Spaniard Carlos Sainz in the second Ferrari finished in third place in the first race, which was exciting only at the end, ahead of Red Bull driver Sergio Perez.
Prior to his guest appearance in Barcelona in two weeks, Verstappen is now 19 points behind Monegasque Leclerc, who was unable to use first place online for success. Mick Schumacher also missed his first points of his 26th Formula 1 race of his career. At the home game for his American team Haas, the German drove a long way to ninth place, before he again had to pit in the final phase after contact with Sebastian Vettel and fell back to 15th place. Vettel, who had to leave Pitlane due to a fuel problem with Aston Martin, retired.
Formula 1 celebrated a three-day party on its debut in the southern Florida metropolis in front of a sold-out house. Miami is the eleventh host country in the history of the premier class and welcomed the racing series with great enthusiasm. “We have finally arrived in North America,” said Mercedes team manager Toto Wolff. Besides Austin and Miami, Las Vegas is already the third US placement in the starting blocks for 2023.
The celebrity crowd in Miami also delighted race organizers and fans. Former First Lady Michelle Obama visited Lewis Hamilton’s garage, football superstar Tom Brady and basketball legend Michael Jordan strolled through the fold with football icon David Beckham. In the shadow of Hard Rock Stadium, the creators of the Grand Prix nurtured the fun factor with a man-made beach, a makeshift marina without water and plenty of shows.
problems on the course
The new 5.4 kilometer long track received a lot of criticism from the drivers. Due to an unusual asphalt mixture, many people began to slip. In turn 14, the drivers were annoyed by a harassment, which was also where serious accidents happened in practice. The unusual nature of the course made some fear a chaotic race.
But for a long time, everything went well. Right at the start, Verstappen grabbed second-placed Ferrari man Sainz and went in search of Leclerc. It also went as planned for Mick Schumacher in the beginning and soon he was in the points in tenth place.
The 23-year-old also benefited from mishaps at Aston Martin. Lance Stroll, who qualified as number eight, and teammate Vettel, who was to start as number 13, followed the field in the beginning after their technical problem.
At the front, Leclerc was unable to maintain the lead long after its third pole position for the year. His tires quickly deteriorated and Verstappen passed almost effortlessly on the ninth lap. The Dutchman quickly pulled out a small pillow.
Record champion Hamilton had no chance again in the battle for the top spots. The Mercedes driver caused a stir, especially with the controversy over the ban on jewelry in the cockpit, which the new German race director Niels Wittich wants to enforce harder in the future. While Hamilton reluctantly got rid of his earrings and most of his piercings, he wants to get a special permit for the future.
Defending champion Verstappen, however, spread the greatest brilliance on the route. Cool, he steered the race ahead of the Ferrari duo. According to Leclerc complained: “The car is so hard to drive.” Even after the first tire changes, Verstappen remained clearly in the lead.
A violent collision between McLaren driver Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly’s Alpha Tauri on the 41st lap gave fresh excitement. The safety car braked the field and Verstappen’s lead over the competitors was gone.
Eleven laps before the end had run free again. Leclerc stayed close to Verstappen this time, also thanks to DRS’s overtaking help. But that was not enough to win. “It was a very difficult race, Red Bull had a speed advantage today,” Leclerc said. Verstappen breathed and then said, “It was very exhausting. A great Sunday for us. I need a drink first.”